Recently, Elizabeth Bonker gave the valedictorian speech at Rollins College in Florida. No doubt the audience expected the usual sophomoric enthusiasm that regularly comes from these graduations.
What made her speech different is the fact that she can not talk. Elizabeth is a non-speaking autistic young woman. Using a computer, she texted her speech to a computer program and the program “spoke” to the crowd.
The punchline to her speech was the instruction, “God gave you a voice. Use it.”
I got to thinking about the voice that God has given you and I. Like all of his gifts, we are meant to use them. That’s why Ps. 81:10 reminds us that “I am the Lord your God who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth.”
A child begins to speak somewhere between 12 and 18 months of life. And once they are an adult, you can expect some 7000 words a day to come tumbling out, about 10% of them “meaningful.”
So how are you and I using that gift from God? Do we start and end our day with words of gratitude to the Lord? Are we intentional about our encouraging words for our family and friends? Do we measure our speech at work making certain to only say words of kindness?
This week, let’s take to heart the concept that if we ask Him to, the Lord will actually fill our mouths. If we pause in an argument, He will insert some conciliatory phrases. If we smile as we speak, He will give us words of affirmation to distribute. If we open our mouths and ask Him, He will instruct our hearts to share His goodness with everyone around us.
If Elizabeth can do it with a computer program, you and I can do it with our voice box.
“May the Words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer” ( Psalm 19:14).